The Big 12 Conference held its first coaches teleconference of the league season Monday.
Coming off a tough loss at Kansas State in the conference opener, here are the questions posed to Cowboys coach Travis Ford:
Where there lessons to be learned for your young team on Saturday?
“I think there was a lot of lessons learned. I thought we went in and we competed, but when you get to conference play, you’ve got to take it to the next level. I didn’t think the last three minutes of the game we finished as well as I would have liked. We made a few mistakes in a tight game on the road that you just can’t make.
“We’ve got to rebound the ball better. But Kansas State, Bruce (Weber) has those guys playing extremely hard and he’s got them playing very well together. I thought KansasState just made a lot of big plays and they had a very special performance by one player – (Rodney McGruder). When a guy goes off like that, it’s tough, especially in the second half, to get a win on the road.
“We’ve got to finish games a little better. We’ve got to rebound the ball better. And just compete a little bit harder.”
What are your thoughts on the freshmen talent in this league and the guys who have come in and contributed right away?
“There’s a lot of really good freshmen in our league. A lot of times, the predicted productivity of a freshman is dependent on what that freshman’s role is on the team. You look at a young man like Javan Felix at Texas, he’s had to play a really big role on that team to this point. And it’s allowed him to get out there and play a little bit more. Same thing with Marcus Smart on our team. We needed somebody to come in and play the point guard spot. It was there.
“If you’re going to go in and get the opportunity to play a lot of minutes, then you’re going to have a chance to make an impact.”
Have you go the development you wanted out of Le’Bryan Nash? Has he continued to improve, or are you not getting as much as you’d like out of him?
“He’s improved greatly in a lot of areas. A lot of areas people may not notice, other than me, when it comes to scouting reports, when it comes to different things we’re doing on defense.
“He’s known for his scoring and he’s going to score the ball. He had an incredible beginning to the season and did so many great things for us in Puerto Rico when we won that tournament. He played at an extremely high level. I think he’s improved. He’s continually improving. He’s a talent offensively. He’s worked very hard to get better defensively.
“But it’s always a work in progress. I think he’d be the first one to tell you that he wants to continue to improve.”